The Kings Fund's new report explores the rising demand for hospital services by looking at the data for different aspects of activity over the past 13 years. In recent years, NHS spending has been protected while other budgets such as welfare, local government and the police have been subject to significant cuts. Despite this, health services are facing unprecedented financial and operational pressures. In 2015/16, NHS providers ended the year with a record deficit of £2.45 billion, while performance against waiting times and other key indicators has deteriorated. Read the full report here

In his blog, Richard Murray considers the wider context of this increasing demand and activity in English hospitals. 

The Kings Fund briefing looks at the increase in activity in English hospitals over the past 13 years. It shows that recent increases in demand for treatment are nothing new – on the contrary they are broadly in line with the longstanding trend. What is remarkable is how widespread and sustained these increases are across emergency admissions, elective admissions, outpatients and A&E attendances. Perhaps the only oddity is diagnostics, where the growth is even higher, with activity having doubled since 2006/7. Read more here.